Best On Ground: The race to avoid AFL's wooden spoon

The race to avoid AFL's wooden spoon

Eight rounds are down, and it seems like three clubs are in the box seat to claim the wooden spoon and gain a coveted number one draft pick.

If you're an Adelaide, North Melbourne or Sydney fan, it might be the time to look away.

All three clubs have produced some dire form so far in 2020.

Adelaide is firmly in the middle of a rebuild and many expected a tumble down the ladder after losing so many senior players in the off-season.

Under new coach Matthew Nicks, the Crows are yet to salute. Pressure isn't really mounting though, as most are realistic about where the club is at.

North Melbourne, meanwhile, are just flat out struggling. The Kangaroos finally have young talent creeping through, but controversial recruiting decisions over the past five years are starting to bite.

Trade rumours are swirling around gun forward Ben Brown and while injuries have hit hard, North is very much an easybeat at present.

With 10 of its best 22 out of the side, the question remains. Is it bad form, or is it something deeper? Does the club need a full-scale rebuild under second-year mentor Rhyce Shaw?

Time will tell. On the positive side of life, the Kangaroos have two first-round draft picks in 2020 but are also juggling several out-of-form players who boast more than 100 games of experience.

Some hard decisions are looming.

Looking at Sydney, the talent is there to see. The injury curse has again struck this club hard, with three bona fide superstars on the sidelines in Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, Josh Kennedy and Isaac Heeney.

The Swans' third-bottom position is more the result of injuries and developing young talent. A number one draft pick, however, wouldn't be the worst result in the world for a side more than capable of propelling itself up the ladder in 2021.

On the bright side of life, we're in for a footy feast from next week onwards. Round nine will start on July 29 and matches will be played for 20 days straight as the AFL streamlines its product to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Happy days for us all!

THE FOOTY NEWS YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO MISS

Thursday, July 23

  • Gold Coast Suns vs Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

Friday, July 24

  • GWS Giants vs Richmond at Giants Stadium, 7.40pm

Saturday, July 25

  • North Melbourne vs Carlton at Gabba, 1.05pm
  • Sydney vs Hawthorn at SCG, 3.35pm
  • Port Adelaide vs St Kilda at Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm

Sunday, July 26

  • Adelaide vs Essendon, Adelaide Oval, 1.05pm
  • West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood at Optus Stadium, 3.35pm
  • Melbourne vs Brisbane Lions at Metricon Stadium, 6.10pm

Monday, July 27

  • Fremantle vs Geelong at Optus Stadium, 8.10pm
This story The race to avoid AFL's wooden spoon first appeared on The Standard.